With a going price of P13,990 (roughly $262), the OPPO F7 Youth was released in the Philippines in June. Since then, there have been plenty of good-to-great options that have come out bearing the same combination of fast processing power and agreeable price points. And yet, of all the similar phones that have been launched and made headlines recently, we found the F7 Youth to be the most compelling one out there in one particular area: gaming.
Yes. We’ve put in a good number of hours — as many as we could have given a device in our possession — and have come to the conclusion that the OPPO F7’s watered-down cousin isn’t as watered down as you might think. We’d even argue that if image quality isn’t high on your wish list and you find the Apple iPhone X-inspired notch to be particularly bothersome, you’d probably be happier — and not down by at least P4,000 ($75), too — with the Youth version.
Really, if you love to play games on your mobile device but can’t drop serious cash on a recent Android flagship, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better blend of performance and price. Read on to find out why we think the OPPO F7 Youth is the best gaming phone you can purchase for under P15,000 ($281).
In lieu of describing the phone’s fancy outward appearance and how it feels to be used overall as a daily driver, we’ve decided to focus on how the chassis itself lends well to handheld gaming, in landscape mode.
The back of the phone has been layered with a sheet of acrylic, making it prone to picking up fingerprints and smudges, and more worryingly, micro scratches that occur over the course of ownership. It can be slippery to hold as well. The protective front glass covering the LCD, while subtly curved around the edges and tapers nicely into the body, isn’t resistant to blemishes all over it. It’s nothing that a nice screen protector won’t remedy.
The location of the mono speaker at the base of the OPPO F7 Youth, where it’s easy to muffle the sound while playing games in horizontal orientation, adds another element of inconvenience, but this is something you will eventually get used to. It’s better than having the speaker occupy real estate at the back, that’s for sure.
It also bears mentioning that OPPO didn’t design this with the intention of marketing it as a gaming phone in the first place, so we’re not too concerned with many of these hardware choices.
On a positive note, the corners of the F7 Youth are smooth and rounded and comfortable to lay your index or trigger fingers on for hours. As its mostly made of plastic, the phone feels light despite rocking a consequential screen size of 6 inches. The thicker bezels at the top and bottom of the front provide you with enough area to grip the device in landscape mode without accidentally tapping something or interrupting what is being presented on the screen.
On to the screen. The F7 Youth features a 6-inch, 2,160 x 1,080 LCD with a taller aspect ratio of 18:9. Such specs are common to even more affordable devices, and the screen doesn’t stand out in any one area.
It’s decent for gaming. The colors appear balanced, and they pretty much hold their vibrancy when looking at them from weird angles. The black levels are about as deep as they come on an LCD panel. Brightness isn’t a concern and allows for good indoor and outdoor visibility. We have no major complaints whatsoever. It gets the job done without being overly fancy — and potentially taxing on the battery.
OPPO offers customization options for making it appear cooler or warmer to suit your taste. Plus, there’s Night Shield, which can be turned on to prevent eye strain by reducing blue light emissions and flickers. It can also turn the screen black and white with a tap of your finger or at a set time.
Under the hood is where things get most exciting. OPPO has equipped the F7 Youth with virtually the same internals as the regular F7. That means the processor is MediaTek’s powerful Helio P60, aided by 4GB of RAM and 64GB of native storage, which can be expanded with a microSD card if needed. The integrated Mali-G72 GPU handles graphics and gaming duties.
We’ve talked about the Helio P60 in detail in the past, and it’s no less impressive now than it was then. For heavier tasks, it simply can’t be beat in its price range. On Antutu Benchmark and Geekbench, it delivers the highest scores for a phone below the P15,000 ($280) mark. When you’re playing games such as League Smurfs? You bet! The OPPO F7 Youth runs every app we throw at it at medium or high settings without bogging down frame rates and heating up like a curl iron.
We’ve listed some of the most intensive titles we play on our unit, with a brief description of how each game runs when the graphics details are set to medium or high.
This game requires no introduction. PUBG Mobile is a faithful port of the hugely popular battle-royale shooter from the PC space to smaller screens. More critically, it’s a fantastic mobile release that can easily take up most of your day, especially if you play with a squad of friends. We found that the F7 Youth can crank up the resolution to HD and the frame rate to High to get the most out of its internals and maintain a smooth experience overall.
Last year’s iteration of NBA 2K for Android isn’t the slam dunk we expected it to be, with the development team opting for small cosmetic adjustments over gameplay-related ones. Even so, NBA 2K18 is the closest thing smartphone and tablet owners will get to authentic and organized NBA basketball, and thus we still fire it up every now and then. On the OPPO F7 Youth, the game is perfectly playable with everything except Cloth Simulation set to High.
Honkai Impact 3
Honkai Impact 3 is a free-to-play action game featuring RPG elements and charming, anime-style visuals. Combat feels straightforward yet rewarding enough, as you chain together combos while parrying enemy attacks. Additionally, the game can hit 60 frames per second on devices that can support such graphics. The game runs fine on the F7 Youth, with all the performance settings, including FPS, cranked right up.
Black Desert Mobile
Black Desert Mobile is a fantasy MMORPG that is huge in Korea right now (it has yet to launch globally) — and for good reason: It looks absolutely incredible, arguably the best-looking title we’ve seen on a smaller screen. On our unit, the game looks fluid at a mix of medium and high detail.
OPPO’s very own ColorOS 5.0 UI based on Android 8.1 Oreo comes preinstalled on the F7 Youth. It looks and feels impeccably like its iOS counterpart and provides many useful features, but none more important for gamers than Game Acceleration.
As the name implies, the feature increases performance by closing unnecessary apps and processes that eat through the phone’s memory and also restricts pesky notifications and pop-ups from appearing while playing a game.
Finally, the 3,410mAh battery inside the OPPO F7 Youth delivers better-than-average mileage. On a regular basis, we’re comfortably getting over a day from a single charge with normal usage. Obviously, lengthy gaming sessions will drain the battery much faster, but it’s nothing to be alarmed about.
On the PCMark Work 2.0 battery-life test, our device posted a score of 8 hours and 53 minutes, which is quite common in this price range. Charging is done over a microUSB port. As there is no quick-charge system operating on the phone, bringing the battery from zero to 100-percent capacity takes around two hours. Again, that’s in line with the industry norm.
At P13,990 ($262), there’s no greater value than the OPPO F7 Youth if gaming is high on your agenda. For less, you’re essentially getting the raw processing and graphics performance of a top midrange phone. Its design isn’t particularly suited for gameplay, but the rest of the hardware is a budget gamer’s delight.
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